You’re allowed to weep for the tinkling glasses, waving lighters, and pounding music of gigs you won’t see.
Amid an unprecedented global pandemic, tearing up over a canceled girl’s night might seem a bit selfish.
Despite my best intentions, I feel my eyes well up as soon as I think of my lost monthly Saturday drinks. It’s the same every month. The same group of girls I’ve known for years. The same overpriced bar, which is almost always too crowded for us.
Yet it’s become something of a tradition. It’s the one time we all find space in our busy lives for each other. And I miss it.
If I’m being totally honest, I miss my old life.
But saying that feels like an insult. A disregard to the doctors and nurses, teachers, delivery drivers, and food service workers that are working tirelessly to keep us all afloat — the people who are holding our country together as everything around us seems to fall apart.
What’s easy to forget is that these emotions can happen simultaneously. We can lament our small and insignificant losses while understanding the bigger picture.
These small things that seem frivolous when weighed with the state of the world do matter.
You’re allowed to weep for the tinkling glasses, waving lighters, and pounding music of gigs you won’t see. Or feel a pang of devastation about canceled birthday parties.
It’s a privilege to be lucky enough to experience these events in the first place, even more so to be able to mourn their cancellations. Still, the cancellation of baseball season is a bitter pill to swallow for fans.
We all need things to look forward to. A summer holiday, a wedding, even a girl’s night out.
You see, no matter who we are, we’re all feeling the loss of something.
It’s hard to manage our collective disappointment, especially without our friends and family to anchor us.
Feel your feelings
Rebecca Lockwood, a neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) coach who treats people with anxiety and grief, says that confronting complicated emotions is crucial to accepting and moving forward.
Don’t judge yourself
She also explains that it’s important to avoid being judgmental about how other people feel, and more importantly, avoid judging ourselves.
“When we go into judgment mode, this is a perception of what we believe our lives and behaviors should look like. When we release this, it frees up space mentally and allows us to just relax and stop putting blame on things that are completely outside of our control,” says Lockwood.
This seems particularly important right now. A quick glance over Instagram and you’ll find a lot of people learning languages, baking bread, and working on their six-pack.
It’s easy to compare yourself to these standards and feel worse about your low mood, especially if you can barely drag yourself out of bed.
Check in daily
“Check in with yourself daily and, where you can, take the pressure off yourself. When you feel yourself going into ‘comparison mode,’ then take a moment to step away from the situation,” Lockwood advises.
Most importantly, she highlights that it’s totally fine to process your feelings, in whatever form feels right for you.
Write it down
Outside of simply accepting your feelings, self-care is important. Lockwood recommends picking up a pen.
“Journaling is a powerful way to let go of negative self-talk. It’s a uniquely positive way of releasing our feelings,” she says.
“Remember, there’s no ‘right way’ to journal. Though, if you’re stuck on where to start, talk about why you’ve decided to begin. The beauty of journaling is that it’s a safe space to release pent-up feelings that you might struggle to say out loud.”
Talk it out
After expressing some of my frustrations to one of my closest friends, we decided to arrange a girl’s night over Zoom. Five of us were perched at kitchen tables, a glass of wine in hand, when the topic of disappointment came up.
We talked about canceled weddings, events, and 30th birthday parties. For such a morose conversation, it was strangely joyful. There was a catharsis in sharing our feelings without fear of judgment.
In the midst of a pandemic, it’s easy to label drinks with the girls, a night out, or even birthday parties as unimportant. But it’s vital to remember that our interpersonal connections, and yes, even social events, help to shape us and make us who we are.
When you feel tempted to tell yourself to simply “snap out of it,” remember it’s okay to mourn the loss of the small things during this unique and challenging time. That it’s okay — even expected — to feel disappointed.
And, of course, we will miss the places and people we felt at home with — even if that “home” is a loud, overpriced bar with your friends.
Charlotte Moore is a freelance writer and assistant editor of Restless Magazine. She’s based in Manchester, England.